NDSU geosciences faculty member receives grants, publishes research

NDSU geosciences faculty member receives grants, publishes research


Benjamin J.C. Laabs, associate professor of geosciences, has received two research grants and published a paper in a leading journal.

Laabs is the principal investigator on a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation Geoinformatics program for collaborative research involving scientists at the University of California-Berkeley Geochronology Center and NDSU. The grant, “Collaborative Research: A Transparent-Middle-Level Computational and Data Management Infrastructure for Synoptic Applications of Cosmogenic-Nuclide Geochemistry,” is for $69,249 and runs through May 31, 2023.

“The research will develop data-management and computational infrastructure for cosmogenic nuclide exposure dating, which is important for understanding geologic processes at the Earth surface,” Laabs said, noting the award abstract number is 1948186.

He also received a grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation Education and Human Resources program to support an annual professional-development workshop for early career geoscience faculty involved in teaching, research/scholarly activity and service.

The grant,” Collaborative Research: Early Career Geoscience Development Workshop: A partnership between NAGT and NSF,” is for $279,502 and runs through Aug. 31, 2023.

“The goal of the project is to provide support and networking opportunities for early career faculty to help them establish the framework for a successful career which, in turn, helps to improve undergraduate education and strengthen research and scholarship,” Laabs said. The award abstract number is 2028642.

In addition, Laabs is the lead author on an invited paper published during the summer in Quaternary Science Reviews, one of the top journals for research about events in the last 2 million years of Earth history.

“I was invited to write this paper because of my knowledge of a relatively new method of geologic dating known as cosmogenic nuclide exposure dating, which can be used to determine the geologic age of ancient glacial sediment and landforms at the Earth surface,” Laabs said. “The paper reports a compilation of geologic ages of glacial landforms deposited in mountains of the western United States during the last two ice ages, and uses the ages to infer how climate changed during ice ages.”

The paper is titled “Updated cosmogenic chronologies of Pleistocene mountain glaciation in the western United States and associated paleoclimate inferences.”

Laabs joined the NDSU faculty in 2016. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, master’s degree in geology from Northern Arizona University and his doctorate in geology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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